Monday 25 January 2021

M!LA Plant-Based Brunch Fun in Chinatown

I never thought I would say this, but I went to a vegan restaurant, aka an eatery that serves an all plant-based menu. M!LA is one of Vancouver's most recent additions to the vegetarian food scene and can be found along Keefer Street amongst other notable restaurants in Historic Chinatown. 

I popped by M!LA with my friend Its Josh Eats for Sunday morning brunch. I must admit, I was impressed by the long line that had formed outside of M!LA before they opened their doors at 10:30 AM. I really had no idea just how popular they were, but it should not come as a surprise considering there are not a lot of vegetarian friendly restaurants in Vancouver. My parents are vegetarian and it can be a struggle for them to eat out because their only options end up being salad, a cobbled together vegetarian pasta and a not so great veggie burger. 

Brunch began with lots and lots of cocktails because who needs food when you have booze. Am I right? First up was the Mimosa Flight which was popular amongst the other tables at the restaurant. Mionetto Prosecco arrives pre-mixed with strawberry + lychee juice, orange juice, peach + mango juice and grapefruit juice. Papa Don't Peach was another Mionetto Prosecco cocktail but this time with vanilla infused Absolut Vodka, peach juice, lemon juice and drops of balsamic reduction. The Kohaku River (the name is from Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away!) is Cazadores Tequila with lime juice, cane sugar syrup, mango juice, strawberry juice, muddled dragon fruit and soda. 

The Smoked Lox Benedict is assembled on sourdough bread, is a tofu puck with carrot lox, red onion, capers, hollandaise and a side of smashed potatoes. This was my least favourite of the entrees I tried at M!LA. I can never get behind the vegetables mimicking meat trend. This could have been far tastier if M!LA just did a vegetarian benedict. 

PB + J Waffles came with a generous drizzle of peanut butter sauce, berry compote, whipped butter and mint. The PB sauce was yum and you can never go wrong with a berry compote. The waffles though were tough, I like my waffles soft and fluffy! 

My favourite and quite frankly one of the most delicious foods I have had in a long time were the Breakfast Bao Buns. Pocketed between soft fluffy doughy buns was a spiced aromatic tofu scramble, avocado, aioli, pickled red onion and vegan bacon and cheddar. I think the vegan bacon was unnecessary. Again why can we not just let vegetables take center stage because vegetables are delicious. Fake meat just tastes weird. But I REPEAT, the BREAKFAST BAO BUNS ARE FANTASTIC. 

With anyplace, there is room for improvement. I would love to see M!LA introduce more vegetable forward dishes that do not rely on fake meat. Something that really bothered me was their menu. "Crab Cake Benedict" and "Pasta Bolognese" and "Fish + Chips" jumped out at me and left me confused as to if M!LA was a plant-based restaurant or a normal restaurant because why do so many of the menu item names have meats in them. 

The ambiance at M!LA was full of energy and the decor is on pointe. It is definitely a vegetarian restaurant that is worth checking out. Hopefully they will continue working on the menu. Fruit smoothies would be a delightful addition to the brunch menu. In fact, I have so many ideas, M!LA should bring me on for research + development! 


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